Volleyball Keeps Losing Nail-Biters
UC Irvine 3 Lewis 1
On Monday, March 8, the eleventh ranked Anteaters welcomed non-conference opponent Lewis University. Despite losing the first set, UC Irvine was able to pull off a four set victory (27-30, 30-25, 30-19, 30-25).
Kevin Carroll led the way for the Anteaters as he posted a career high of 19 kills. The ’Eaters also received huge contributions from Jordan DuFault, Carson Clark, and Kevin Wynne who all notched double digit kills. Ian Wynne continues to add consistency at the setter position and also shows that the future is bright for UCI volleyball. The freshman dished out 57 assists without an error.
Defense was key for the ’Eaters. In the opening set that the Anteaters lost, the Flyers found holes in the Anteaters’ defense, as they hit for .472. However, in the three sets that UCI won, the Anteaters suffocated the Flyers and held them to a killing average of .125. This included the fourth set in which the Flyers were only able to convert an abysmal -0.024 of their hitting opportunities.
UC Irvine 2 Penn State 3
Two days after defeating Lewis University, UC Irvine welcomed yet another non-conference opponent in Penn State. The match against the Nittany Lions was the epitome of the Anteaters’ topsy-turvy season as the ’Eaters showcased their inconsistent play and their inability to close out their opponent. The ’Eaters lost another disappointing five set match (31-33, 25-30, 30-26, 30-28, 14-16).
After setting a career high in kills two nights before, sophomore Kevin Carroll notched another career high with 29 kills. However, Carroll’s strong effort and Carson Clark’s 27 kills were not enough to beat Penn State. In addition, UCI could not take advantage of the 82 assists that were handed out by Anthony Spittle and Ian Wynne.
The Anteaters were only able to hit five aces and limited their errors to 16. Furthermore, the Anteaters were not able to capitalize on their defensive play, out-blocking the Nittany Lions 13 to 10. The loss marked the sixth time the Anteaters have been in a five set match and have failed to come away with the victory.
UC Irvine 2 UCLA 3
Correction: make that seven times. UC Irvine has played seven matches that have gone five sets. In all seven matches, the tough luck Anteaters have failed to record a single win.
On March 27, UCI hosted UCLA and the Anteaters came out on the short end of the stick, losing in five (30-26, 18-30, 33-35, 30-20, 15-17).
Carson Clark led the way for the Anteaters as he recorded a double-double of 17 kills and 11 digs. DuFault also added another 16 kills. UCI could not find solid play at the setter position, as both Ian Wynne and Anthony Spittle tried their best to feed the Clark and DuFault duo.
UC Irvine was plagued by their inconsistent play yet again. After winning the first set by recording 18 kills and converting .419 of their killing opportunities, the Anteaters turned into Mr. Hyde. In the second game the Anteaters notched seven measly kills and hit .077. The ’Eaters were able to win the fourth set due in-large part to 14 kills and a .429 hitting percentage. But much the like second set, the Anteaters went into the witness protection program and did not come out of hiding in the decisive fifth set. The ’Eaters recorded a disappointing six kills and hit for an atrocious .160 percentage.
UCI fell to 11-12 overall and 6-10 in conference play. This week, UCI will tour Los Angeles by taking on USC on Thursday followed by Pepperdine on Saturday.